Sharlene Sharmila Richards

Sharlene Sharmila Richards

Q: What status will my spouse and children receive if I have been granted H-1B visa?
A: Dependents of H-1B visa holders (spouse and children under the age of 21 years) can apply for H-4 visa.
Q: What are the current Filing Fees for new H-1B cap cases?
A: The regular or base filing fee is $460.00. Additionally, the ACWIA Fee will be $750 if Petitioner has 25 full time employees or less or $1500 if more than 25 employees and a Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee of $500 (not applicable to Chile and Singapore H-1B1 petitions). If the employer has 50 or more employees and at least 50 percent of those employees are on H-1B or L-1 status, the Petitioner will have to pay an additional Fee Based on Public Law 114-113 amounting to $4000.00. NOTE: For all H-1B filings commencing April 3rd, 2017, there is no Premium Processing option as it has been suspended by USCIS.
Q: Do I meet the educational requirements for an H-1B visa if I have a two year Associates Degree and one year of work experience in my field?
A: Most likely not. You must hold at least a Bachelor’s Degree. In most cases, this typically means a 4 year degree. Your work experience may be insufficient as three years of work experience equates to one year of university education. You will most likely need an additional five years of work experience in that particular field in order to have the equivalency of a Bachelor’s degree.
Q: I have a three year Bachelor’s Degree from my home country. Is it enough for H-1B visa?
A: All foreign degrees have to be first evaluated to determine whether it is equivalent to the Bachelor’s degree offered by an accredited university or institution of higher learning in the United States. This degree evaluation is typically done by a third party credential evaluation service. In addition to that, the Bachelor’s degree you possess must be in the field related to your intended H-1B occupation.
Q: My employer is an educational institution. If my employer is cap exempt, when can they file the H-1B petition? Do I have to wait until October 1st, 2017 in order to start my employment?
A: Your employer can file the H-1b petition at any time. You do not have to wait until October 1st, 2017 to commence your employment. You can commence work when the petition is approved.
Q: I have J-1 Exchange Visitor status. Am I eligible to change my status to H-1B?
A: If your J-1 is not subject to the two year home residency requirement, you are eligible to change your status to H-1B. If you are subject to the two year home residency requirement, you will be ineligible for the H-1B or any other employment based status until the requirement has been satisfied (return to your home country for at least two years) or waived by USCIS based on Department of State recommendation.
Q: I am presently on OPT (Optional Practical Training) with an employer. My OPT will expire this December 2017. How do I ask my employer if they wish to petition for H-1B for me?
A: I suggest that you approach your employer, usually through their Human Resources Department, to initiate a discussion with them about the possibility of filing an H-1B visa petition for you. The employer, if unfamiliar with such a visa and the procedures involved in the filing may then take action to seek appropriate advice or make inquiries to learn about the options under this visa category. You should initiate these discussions as soon as possible as the start date for filing the H-1B cap cases is fast approaching on April 3rd, 2017.
Disclaimer: Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case.
My Bio
Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. You may contact her at telephone number 713-623-8088 or by email at srichardslaw@aol.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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